McKenna Fife and Mary Brooks weren't about to let the streak end on their watch.
So the latest in a long line of Clovis West High standouts went out and made sure the Central Section's longest current championship streak extended to a 16th season by combining to produce 114 of their team's 324.5 points at the Division I Swimming and Diving Championships.
Fifth and Brooks won two individual events apiece and combined to power first- and second-place relay teams as Clovis West held off the challenges of Clovis and Sanger (tied for second at 273), and Buchanan (fourth at 259.50) in the closest girls team race in recent memory. They have been selected The Bee's Girls Swimming and Diving Co-Players of the Year.
"No one worked as an individual; it was all team-oriented," Fife said. "Every point really counted. People expected us to win again, but the fact it was so close made it such a victory for us. It wasn't like Clovis West was handed another title. We had to work hard for it. It was what we earned."
Brooks said it was important to carry on a tradition of excellence that started in 1997.
"It was an amazing experience," Brooks said. "The wins that came before us, all those girls put in a lot of hard work. It would be disappointing if we didn't."
Fife, a junior, won section gold in the 100 back for the second straight season, clocking a 59.19. She also atoned for a disqualification in the 200 individual medley last season by winning that event in 2:09.47, nearly 4 seconds faster than her nearest challenger.
"She is one of those swimmers you love to have on your team because she is so versatile," Clovis West coach Adam Reid said. "She can be put in any event and win in any event, which is really helpful for the team."
Brooks, also a national-class age-group water polo player, was the queen of the sprints, winning the 50 free in 23.87 and the 100 free in 52.02. The sophomore contributed 40 points individually, as did Fife, to the Golden Eagles' team total.
"There isn't anyone that can match her drive," Reid said. "She hates to lose and that takes her a long way. Her will to compete is at another level compared to most swimmers."
Fife swam the second leg and Brooks was the anchor of the Golden Eagles' champion 400 free relay team (3:38.83) and the duo swam the same spots on the second-place 200 free relay team (1:40.70).
Fife has now been on the medal podium 10 times in her three seasons, winning gold six times and taking a spot among the Clovis West greats that have come before her.
"When I was a freshman, I looked up to all the fast swimmers here as the most important role models," said Fife said. "Now I'm one of them, and to be a role model and help (younger swimmers) strive to be the best they can be is an amazing feeling."
Brooks has been on the medal podium eight times in two seasons, with six gold and two silver medals.
"It's kind of scary because all of these past swimmers (at Clovis West) are so good," Brooks said. "But if you put in a lot of hard work, you can be as great as they were."
School: Clovis West
Events: 200 IM, 100 back, 200 free relay, 400 free relay
She's qualified because: Won 200 individual medley (2:09.47) and 100 back (59.19) individually, and was a member of the Golden Eagles' champion 400 free relay (3:38.83) and second-place 200 free relay (1:40.70) teams at the Central Section D-I Championships. Was the MVP of the Winterfest Invitational and a first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference selection.
School: Clovis West
Events: 50 free, 100 free, 200 free relay, 400 free relay
She's qualified because: Set school frosh-soph records while capturing Central Section D-I gold in the 50 free (23.87) and 100 free (52.02). The first-team all-Tri-River Athletic Conference selection was also the anchor of the Golden Eagles' champion 400 free relay (3:38.83) and second-place 200 free relay (1:40.70) teams.